4 Ways to Stay Safe on Public Networks

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Just about anywhere you go these days there seems to be plenty of available public Wi-Fi. While this is massively convenient if you're away from your home or office, there’s always the possibility for  harmful security risks to be lurking on the other side of the access form.

This summer, make sure you're prepared when working on the go—it might just save your business…

Not all public Wi-Fi networks are created equal

You know the network that’s always available while you’re waiting for your next flight? Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about…the tempting "Free Airport Wi-Fi" that’s always first to appear in your Wi-Fi options. Unfortunately, the background of that connection is potentially more exposed than a Wi-Fi network provided by one of the coffee shops, stores, or retailers located in the airport.

Your best option is to find networks from a specific location, ideally with a password that you must request, or hidden SSIDs, instead. You'll appreciate the slight increase in security as well as the likely improved performance.

Use approved remote access tools

VPN tools are great because they have encryption, and they’re user-initiated so you have to be purposely trying to connect to your network remotely. However, you’ve probably experienced VPN connection failure, or at least time-outs, on more than one occasion. That's why you may want to consider using DirectAccess. DirectAccess connections are established by the machine—not the user—so they’re secure and authenticated whenever the DirectAccess client has an active Internet connection. Simply put, you can spend more time getting your work done, and less time reaching out to the help desk trying to diagnose the issue.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

You're probably already using Multi-Factor Authentication for different sites and applications. How many times have you clicked "forgotten password", and you get a reset code sent to your cell phone? It's a simple step to help increase security and identity to ensure that it's actually "you" who’s trying to access your business environment remotely.

It's pretty straightforward to implement as well with Microsoft Multi-Factor Authentication available in Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced probability of an Internet attacker gaining access to an account, resulting in fewer security breaches
  • Safeguard access by mobile apps, phone calls and text messages
  • Reduced risk, and meet compliance requirements

Turn off Wi-Fi when you’re not using it

One simple way to protect your confidential information whilst in public is to turn off Wi-Fi when you're not using it. If you don't need to be online, don't connect. Or, do as much offline as possible and connect only when you really need to. One additional up side... turning off your Wi-Fi will actually save your battery too!

Stay safe online

Working remotely is a convenience that allows you to get things done while you’re away from the office or at home. Follow these simple tips to stay safe whenever your work takes you.

…And remember, never leave your device unattended while you go grab that latte.